‘She’s got a single note, and keeps playing it up’

The New York Times’ executive editor bashed former colleague Bari Weiss, who went on to launch independent news outlet “The Free Press,” saying “she’s got a single note, and keeps playing it up over and over again.”

Weiss is also “missing a commitment to deeper reporting [at the Times] and a willingness to kind of look at issues from a 360 perspective that if you were only reading Bari Weiss’ version, you would expect never existed,” Joe Kahn, who oversees all of the NY Times’ global newsroom operations, told Semafor.

Weiss, who worked as an opinion writer and editor at the NY Times from 2017 to 2020, founded The Free Press in January 2021, expanding upon her Substack newsletter titled “Common Sense.”

Bari Weiss, Editor of Common Sense, speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference, wearing glasses and a black shirt
The New York Times’ executive editor Joe Kahn said that ex-opinion writer for the paper Bari Weiss is “missing a commitment to deeper reporting” with her new venture, independent news outlet “The Free Press.” AFP via Getty Images

Despite the criticism, Kahn admitted to Semafor that he still reads The Free Press.

“She’s built a whole media organization around combatting and what she sees is excess of The New York Times and elsewhere,” Kahn added of Weiss, noting that the site still has “valuable reporting.”

“I think there’s some stuff that they’re doing that is worth paying attention to. Do I think she’s right about the [Times]? Not really, no.”

Weiss posted her resignation letter from the NY Times on her news organization’s website.

In it, the 40-year-old journalist criticised “the paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election,” which Weiss said “meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers.”

“The lessons that ought to have followed the election — lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society — have not been learned,” Weiss wrote, adding that “Twitter has become its ultimate editor” and the NY Times has become “a kind of a performance space.”

Weiss didn’t immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Joseph Kahn, Executive Editor of The New York Times, speaking at a panel on global reporting safety at WSJ's Future of Everything Festival
Despite the criticism, Kahn — who oversees all of the NY Times’ global newsroom operations — admitted to Semafor that he still reads The Free Press. AP

When asked about the upcoming election in November, and whether it’s his job to help Joe Biden win in another matchup with presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, Kahn said that the NY Times is a “pillar” of democracy but not a tool of power, according to Semafor.

However, Kahn admitted that the paper presents “a much more favorable view of Biden’s conduct over foreign policy at a difficult time than the polling shows the general public believes.”

“I think you’d get a very favorable portrait of him,” Kahn said, noting “his real commitment to national security; his deep involvement on the Ukraine war with Russia; the building or rebuilding of NATO; and then the very, very difficult task of managing Israel,” per Semafor.

“I think the general public actually believes that he’s responsible for these wars, which is ridiculous, based on the facts that we’ve reported,” Kahn added, noting that a reader won’t see much about Biden’s age in NY Times’s pages.

According to AllSides, which measures the perceived political bias of news organizations, the Times has a left lean, meaning its content “aligns with liberal, progressive or left-wing thought and/or policy agendas.”

The Free Press, meanwhile, has no lean and is categorized as “center” by AllSides’s standards.